Hola familia! This week has been another great one! We had a worldwide missionary training broadcast from salt lake that was really good. Pretty much everything I learned, our mission president has been teaching us in our training, so I liked that. It was interesting, because there would be a normal formatted talk, then a video of a sort of small-group q/a session with a general authority and a dozen missionaries. It was super funny to see all those missionaries with ipads, and when the leader said something like ''lets all turn to the book of mormon'' all the missionaries start tapping away. Our whole zone burst out laughing haha the work seems totally different from here sometimes!
We also had stake conference this weekend in our zone. Our mission president was there too, which was really cool. He is a really powerful speaker. In the Saturday night adult session, there was a brother giving a talk about how we should improve our implementation of technology in our lives, and to make the message more vibrant, he started pulling out records, tape decks, vhs tapes, an old rotary telephone, a usb drive, and finally his smartphone. This message was powerful because in a developing country where there aren't a whole lot of comfortable extras, when it becomes flooded with smartphones, the people just absorb it up.
Our mission president talked about the importance of teaching and converting families, and how that's been taught since the times of Joseph Smith in missionary work. President then called up a convert family the missionaries that converted them and explained their story, how they were initially pretty hard to teach but were baptized and now the husband is in the bishopric, only a little more than a year later. They have 3 daughters, so President called up 3 men to respresent their future husbands, then 12 more people to represent their future children. Now the stands up front are really full, there's about 20 people standing by the pulpit. But President wanted to further emphasize this point, and called for 36 more people to come up to be their future grandchildren. Now the stands are beyond overflowing, but it became obviously clear that by the efforts of these missionaries, literally the future generations of the family are eternally blessed. He also brought up the point of how we can look back the other way, and start our family history work and bless our family tremendously.
Our investigators that are planning on getting baptized this week, Arturo y Estefania (Arthur and Stephanie), are the best. Here theres a saying, que ellos son lo maximo! There are so many sayings I've learned here that I understand their meaning completely, but I can't put exactly a perfect translation to. I think the best way to say it is they're amazing. But it's so true. Arturo has so much experience with anything and everything Peru. He was in the police for a long time. That's sort of a thing here, if you're in the police, I think you have a contract with them for 30 years. But he's been to every province and part of Peru, from mountains of Huaras to the jungle in Iquitos. He has some really cool stories from the jungle. Over there, there are parts where the natives don't have any modern technology or connection to the outside world, but it's kind of like the nephites and lamanites from the book of mormon, the two sides are fighting each other and it's sort of a case of whoever has the better weapons wins the land. So the police help the village people that are really good people but need defense. Arturo said try to imagine hundreds of people scattered in the vegetation, hidden, with their bows and arrows and blowguns, and the police in the middle with their big machine guns. Haha, what a difference in living, in the same country!
This week I've been reading in Helaman, when Samuel the Lamanite is preaching repentance to the Nephites who aren't paying much attention to him, and I really understood at this point the reality of the pride cycle. We can see countless times in the book of mormon the people so faithful and humbled before the Lord in prayer and repentance, but after just a few short years of blessings, they forget the Lord and start to live in sin. I really hits home to me now that we must be faithful to our covenants and obey the commandments not just in times of need and despair, but in times of prosperity and success too. For me in the mission field, this means praying for my investigators not just when they are struggling, but when they are fulfilling their commitments too. I have begun to realize the diligence this requires. But it's a blessing to learn it early on in my mission too.
Thanks for everything you guys do. Your support means everything to me. There is so much work to do here, that I don't have a lot of time to write other letters or send cool things home, but if I find a way I'll make it happen. I love you guys a lot. Take care!
Elder Evan Smith